OK. An omen, right, an omen, like a dead bird or one that’s totally faking it, is witnessed by Ben Affleck, or, more precisely, by a slightly haggard version of him that (because there is no who in this film, just that, just apparatuses as far as the eye can see) loves his children very much but is separated from them and living in something like a mobile home with bachelor cuisine spilled carefully, with one cigarette stubbed out like a crumpled dick into an evacuated can of tuna because his wife (who is either Jessica Alba or Mila Kunis and frankly either will do despite certain differences provided that the Alba or the Kunis appears in an iteration made to look tired and overworked with the difficulties of well, you know, yet still has very white teeth in spite of the strain and still has a plenitude of moisture beneath the taut and swollen skin that no historically demonstrable trend toward desertification can change, and I mean ever) (because there is no who in this film, remember, just apparatuses as far as the eye can see) found that his dual obsession with his dead father, dead in the way that fathers who chase extreme weather patterns end up, the body never, and I mean never, found after he just went too far, too far Dad (so mutters an Affleck in his stubbling sleep) into the tempest on the outskirts of the Delta and the prospect that climate change could generate what he calls a Delta Hyperstorm, too much to handle, his obsessions that is, not the storm as such, even though she loves him too, too much to handle even, such that it must be set free, if a trailer that smells like frozen waffles and unfrozen ejaculate counts as Freedom, and the camera lingers behind an extra sec on the twitch in the corner of mouth, so impossibly pouting and full as if the bee’s sting was coming from inside the mouth, after she hangs up the phone without comment when he says he misses her. OK. That’s a great movie, Evan, but fuck it; let’s talk about Dirty White Gold by my FB friend Leah Borromeo instead. The film begins by examining the hundreds of thousands of Indian cotton farmers who, saddled with economic hopelessness, have taken their own lives (I mean killed themselves). A Center for Human Rights and Global Justice report describes the root of the problem: At the turn of the millennium, Indian farmers who had been given access to a wider range of products after India’s market liberalization started buying genetically modified Bollgard Bt cotton seeds from the Gates-Foundation-backed Monsanto corporation. The seeds were able to resist and kill the common American Bollworm cotton pest, making them an instant hit, with 85 percent of cotton grown in India being Monsanto-controlled Bt cotton by 2009. However, the seeds were expensive, and spiralling prices (coupled with planting restrictions from the multinationals selling the seeds) led to farmers approaching money lenders for hefty loans that eventually turned into unmanageable debt. Almost 300,000 cotton workers have committed suicide to date, some of them by drinking the same insecticides they were sold by seed-selling (I mean extortionate) multinationals. And those suicides also bring up wider questions about the ethics of the fashion industry as a whole, in that this cotton is used in the clothes that end up absolutely on me, and on you. OK. The coverage of Hugo Chavez’s death has been almost universally terrible. But a piece from AP business reporter Pamela Simpson might just win the Idiocracy award. She writes: Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi. OK. The true sign of national greatness – absurdly large skyscrapers and nice things for rich people. Jim Naureckas elaborates: In case you’re curious about what kind of results this kooky agenda had, here’s a chart (NACLA, 10/8/12) based on World Bank poverty stats – showing the proportion of Venezuelans living on less than $2 a day falling from 35 percent to 13 percent over three years. Of course, during this time, the number of Venezuelans living in the world’s tallest building went from 0 percent to 0 percent, while the number of copies of the Mona Lisa remained flat, at none. So you have to say that Chavez’s presidency was overall pretty disappointing – at least by AP’s standards. We’ll talk about microchimerism tomorrow, Ginger. Let’s leave it at this for tonite: you mamas are wondrous assemblages. I’m so jealous you get to carry around cells of your babies inside. Good night. Good morning. I wake to awesome news from Nina: UNANIMOUS NOT GUILTY FOR ALFIE AND ZAK!!!!!
[Note: Sources: JBR; Evan Calder Williams, “The Day After Yesterday, Part 1: The Bad Omen”, at The New Inquiry, 7 Mar 013; JBR; Tamlin Magee, “Your Clothes Are Making Indian Cotton Farmers Commit Suicide”, at Vice, 7 Mar 013; JBR; Erik Loomis, “Worst Chavez Obit”, at Lawyers, Guns & Money, 7 Mar 013; JBR, but see Robert Martone, “Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains”, at Scientific American, 4 Dec 012, via Ginger Stickney, “Jude Under My Skin”, at Green Tea Ginger, 7 Mar 013; JBR; Nina Power, FB post, 8 Mar 013]